Rev Bob Banton, Learning Manager at Diocese of Liverpool has put together this list of top 5 tips for clergy looking after your own wellbeing as we approach World Mental Health awareness day on October 10th.
Look after your physical health.
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health. Eat well, a balanced diet is needed by your brain in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
Take your days off and holidays.
We know that clergy regularly don’t stop working on their days off. It is often the case that you plan a day off and then end up working anyway when there is a knock at the door “I know it’s your day off but…” Be disciplined with yourself. Block time in your diary and take it. Make yourself accountable to someone – a friend or family member that will remind you to switch your brain off from parish matters when you are on holiday.
Find things to do that you love outside of ministry.
Get a hobby. Even a couple of hours a week thinking about something else will be beneficial and reduce stress.
Develop a good network of friends.
And they don’t all have to be clergy! There is evidence to suggest that a wider social network has a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
Ask for help and support if you need it.
You are often the person that other people turn to for help and it is easy to end up carrying everyone else’s burdens. Who is there to support you? Know that help is out there if you need it. Whatever the issue that you are struggling with you can contact your Area Dean, Archdeacon or even Lifelong Learning. We can point you in the right direction to access the support you need.